Is god worship compulsory in Hinduism
Do the Vedas forbid the worship of idols?
This is one of the hottest topics from anti-Hindus, especially on the internet, to cause disturbance in simple Hindus who are unaware of the complexities of Scripture. The first two answers, one from Mr Javahar and one from Mr Bharadwaj, give some clues about this, so I will not include these answers. The third answer is indeed a typical question that anti-Hindus like Zakir Nayak raise against Hindus, and this person has copied these things without meaning and repeated the facts to make his claim powerful. Now I am answering this problem.
Quotes like EKAMEVA ADWITEEYAM from Vedas have no connection to ritual performance, the way anti-Hindus try to connect it. It is a philosophical statement that means that the ultimate truth is one and no one is equal to it. The most infamous phrase anti-Hindus use comes from svetaasvatar upnisad-- न तस्य प्रतिमा अस्ति, but they use it completely out of context. At first glance, the meaning seems to be - He has no picture. However, this meaning is absolutely wrong when reading the full sentence, which these COWARDS do not quote out of fear.
The complete sentence is: न तस्य तस्य अस्ति अस्ति नाम महद् यशः यशः The root verb in the word PRATIMAA is MAA, which means - measure. When the words न प्रतिमा of the above sentence are put together according to the Sanskrit rule, it becomes अप्रतिम / APRATIMA. Anyone can check the meaning of this word in any standard dictionary. It has absolutely no connection with Idol. This simply means who cannot be compared, not comparable, not parallel, etc. This word is also used with the same meaning in today's Indian languages. Again, it is only about the philosophical aspect of the ultimate truth, not the ritual aspect. Now we come to the main clause, the object of comparison is mentioned here very clearly - MAHAD-YASAH, which means great glory. So the conclusive meaning of this phrase is that - no one can compete with his great glory, he is exceedingly glorious. But stupid creatures like Zakir and Co., who have no understanding of Vaidic wisdom, manipulate the meaning of the word PRATIMAA of this sentence. And neo / half-Hindus like Aarya-Samaajis fuel this fire. Please read the comments from Sri Shankar or Sri Rang Ramaanuja on this verse from SVET. Until 4/19.
The shortcoming of Hindus is that they cannot give counter-references reporting on HIS PRATIMAA and having the exact same word PRATIMAA because they are discussing without properly studying our scriptures. I am presenting some evidence from Veda, not Puranas, which is definitely laden with such evidence. One of them was quoted by Mr. Javahar from Bhaagavtam. Please read these Senteces with your eyes wide open ---
- (असि प्रमा असि प्रतिमा असि ।-- (तैत्तिरीय प्रपाठक अनुच्छेद ५)
- सहस्रस्य प्रतिमा असि ..। --- (यजुर्वेद १५/६५)
- Y प्रतिमाम् असृजत यद् y (yajnam) ....।-- (शतपथ ११/१/८/३)
This is but little evidence that directly concerns the word PRATIMAA and confirms that the Lord has it. There is plenty of other evidence in the Vedas relating to the PRATIMAA or media of worship such as stone. Stone is not GOD, he only worships media like fire. I don't want to extend it.
The question now is whether the word IMAGE / IDOL can represent the meaning of the word PRATIMAA used in Vedas. The straight answer is NO. The SRI MURTI used for worship in the temples is called ARCHA. It is not synonymous with IDOL in the English language.
All YAJNAS are PRATIMAA of the Lord according to Satapath Brahamn. Fire, water, earth, stone, air etc. are used in YAJNA. There are different types of YAJNAS. Please read Bhagavad-Gitaa 4 / 24-31.
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